Drifters - mini series

a collection of drabbles that managed to weave themselves into a series of short stories / romance / oneshot type things.


2. Airborne

oneshot/romance/story/drabble thing no. 2


He's spending his Friday night sitting on a trampoline in her back garden. She's plugged into her headphones and his laptop is settled between his knees and hers; the only thing keeping them warm. He's wondering whether he should have brought a jacket for her, and then he realises that she would never accept something so cliché. So they sit shrouded in the almost-silence, and even though they're sitting on a trampoline, both of them know that they probably won't even move for the rest of the night. He pictures her jumping up and performing a flip, and has to bite his lip to stop himself from laughing out loud. She doesn't even toss him a glance.

It's ironic in every sense of the word.

The tapping of his fingers against the keyboard is so familiar that the sound hardly bothers him. He's mixing music: creating baselines and melodies to run over different songs. He pulls his headphones up from around his neck and listens. He listens to the pulsing bass, the complex riffs, and the lyrics that flow over the top. His fingers wander over the mouse pad until he hits pause. His gaze falls on the girl beside him. Now there is nothing but silence between them.

He tries to guess what she is listening to. She doesn't mix music, she doesn't play it or write it or perform it. She simply listens. It's funny, if you think about it. She could be one of the quietest people he's met. But that's because she's listening. She's listening, and she's taking everything in, watching from the sidelines. Quiet people have the loudest minds.

It takes a while, but eventually she looks up at him: Holds his gaze, ties the thread that pulls them together. And he knows that it's this time again, when it's safe to talk, when she's finally comfortable with him. It has become a ritual: They start off without speaking, just sitting beside each other, getting used to it all. And finally, when he's just about growing accustomed to the silence, she'll take off her headphones, pause the music, and the night will begin. They get to know each other all over again, every single time they meet.

The conversation starts hesitantly at first, but soon it's in full flow. They watch the sun melt into the horizon like ink spreading across a page; each word a shade of amber or pink until an entire chapter has been written, made entirely of colours. He wants to read the story of the sky. Wants to watch the clouds float idly along until day turns to night and the tale is rewritten. It fascinates him, how, with each passing minute, the sky above us is different, brand new. But no one seems to notice. There is beauty in the ordinary, but some things seem so ordinary we forget them all together. This, he thinks, is a mistake people make about the girl sitting beside him.

She talks and laughs along with him. He sees the way her eyes glint when she turns towards him; it reminds him of a star. She has stars in her eyes, he thinks, and maybe that is why she is blinded and cannot see her own beauty. The stars can't see how much they shine; they know only the brightness of others.

If he told her that, of course, she would write him off as a cliché.

So the night grows darker but still they sit on the creaking trampoline, their words a drifting melody running alongside the soundtrack of the city far beyond. Soon there is silence, and her gaze on his, and she is leaning towards him and he questions what is happening and what will happen. He tilts his head and brings her close, closer; closer than she has ever been to him and he needs this. His very existence depends on this moment, this second, something absolutely indescribable except from the thoughts inside his head and the feeling of her skin against his own. His parted lips find hers and something unravels inside of him, adds to this invisible thread pulling them together. There is no space between their lips now; there is nothing but each other, each person taking this as their own. His senses come to life. Her touch ignites fireworks and he wants to stay and feel the flames. He reaches for her, wrapping his arms around her, her, she is real to him now, or is it the opposite? Are they one, one tangle of thoughts, one mass of feelings, created simply by the feeling of her lips and his? Her hands rest on his shoulders, her dark hair fluttering over his face. And there is only this, now, the now he has been waiting for forever and for once he doesn't care if she didn't feel the same because it is finally here. This now is her, and him, together.

She pulls away slightly, turns her head and reaches for something behind her. She stumbles, her fingers dancing across the surface of something he can't see.

And then there is music.

She plays the music he has never heard. The music that is always playing through her headphones; the music she has never shared. And even though the songs are written by someone else, they seem like her own language. Like they were written for her, about her, like each syllable is so significant and personal and true. And she is playing it out into the night, but somehow he knows she is really playing it for him. For him, and for her, together.

They kiss again, and then he stops for a while to listen. He listens to the music and looks up at the story of the sky. He imagines drifting up, up to float among the clouds, to hide in between the pages of the tale he has loved for so long. And he imagines her with him, and how he would go so much higher, do so much more if only she were by his side. Him, and her. Together.

Him, and her. Airborne.

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